[PD] MasterOfPrayer

Andy Farnell padawan12 at obiwannabe.co.uk
Wed Jun 11 16:36:44 CEST 2008

I suppose that question depends on whether they believe in silicon heaven.

Thought provoking though. Does that mean the installation
is doing voice recog?

On Wed, 11 Jun 2008 22:17:11 +0800
Chris McCormick <chris at mccormick.cx> wrote:

> Hi,
> For the last few months I have been helping my friends Rodney Glick
> (Artist) and Moshe Y Bernstein (Rabbi) with the technical aspects of one
> of Rodney's artworks. The artwork, entitled "Master Of Prayer" will be
> showing among many other fascinating works in Rodney's exhibition. It
> opens tommorrow night (Thursday), 6pm at the [Lawrence Wilson Art
> Gallery](http://lwgallery.uwa.edu.au/) at the University of Western
> Australia. I'm really excited about this project. I got to use Pure
> Data, voice synthesis (mbrola), and a network based pseudo-AI (Pd) to
> help Rodney and Moshe create a really compelling and thought provoking
> artwork. Here's the blurb that Moshe wrote about it:
> "In the Jewish tradition the full prayer service can be performed only
> in a quorum of ten adult males known in Hebrew as a minyan. The main
> part of the service, which occurs three times daily, is the Shmona
> Esrei, or Eighteen Benedictions. These blessings are first recited
> silently by the entire congregation. Afterwards, during the morning and
> afternoon liturgies, they are repeated aloud by the cantor, often
> referred to as the Ba'al Tefillah or 'Master of Prayer'.  In orthodox
> Judaism any male, whether layman or cleric, over the age of thirteen can
> lead the prayers. During the repetition of the Shmona Esrei, also called
> the Amidah, or 'standing prayer', the congregation answers responsively
> to each of the benedictions recited. In this installation each computer
> has been individually programmed to respond to the blessings recited by
> the main computer, the 'Master of Prayer', leading the afternoon Mincha
> service. Though the installation appears to parody the human condition
> of prayer by rote, on a deeper level it asks a haunting question about
> the inherent nature of artificial intelligence. The Jewish sages require
> kavannah, or 'proper intent' for prayer to be truly acceptable. To the
> extent that computers can be programmed to 'think', might they not be
> programmed to this 'proper intent' as well? In a tentative answer to
> that question, 'Master of Prayer' can be experienced as a high-tech,
> Jewish version of the Tibetan prayer-wheel or Christian rosary beads."
> Good night,
> Chris.
> -------------------
> http://mccormick.cx
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